By Tamsin McMahon - Monday, December 17, 2012 - 0 Comments
Outdoor advertising industry cries foul
In the past, when residents complained billboards were a blight on the urban landscape, politicians might have responded by banning them. Now cash-strapped cities view them as an untapped source of tax revenue.
Winnipeg city council recently debated a plan to hike taxes on billboards by as much as 380 per cent. Taxes on animated digital boards would have increased from $1,000 a year to $23,000. Last week, the city postponed the decision until next year following an outcry from the industry, which argues billboards aren’t quite the cash cow councillors believe.
Still, it appears to be a losing battle. Last month the Supreme Court of Canada refused to hear an appeal by the outdoor advertising industry to strike down Toronto’s 2009 billboard tax. The industry had argued it is an indirect tax not permitted under the City of Toronto Act. The city estimates it will bring in more than $10 million a year in added revenue, which the industry contends would be more than the proﬁts of the billboards themselves.
By Alex Ballingall - Thursday, February 16, 2012 at 8:35 AM - 0 Comments
American Idol host Ryan Seacrest has a knack for making money with schlocky reality TV
In 2008, before the U.S. credit crash, the investment firms Thomas H. Lee Partners and Bain Capital paid nearly $20 billion to buy the radio and billboard company Clear Channel. It was a disaster from the get-go. With a money-losing radio business and $4 billion in debt due in 2014, Clear Channel needs a saviour, and quick. Enter American Idol host Ryan Seacrest. The private equity firms last week invested $300 million in Seacrest’s production company to acquire new media companies and to create TV content in collaboration with Clear Channel, which will also take a small stake in Seacrest’s firm. Seacrest has a knack for knowing what Americans want. His production company created the massively successful Keeping Up with the Kardashians and several spinoffs. With Seacrest’s help, Bain and THL are betting Clear Channel can still be more than a money-losing radio company—perhaps a new media venture offering Americans what they really want: schlocky reality TV.